The Two Doctors

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140[1]The Two Doctors
Doctor Who serial
Two Doctors.jpg
The two Doctors and Jamie
Directed by Peter Moffatt
Written by Robert Holmes
Script editor Eric Saward
Produced by John Nathan-Turner
Executive producer(s) None
Incidental music composer Peter Howell
Production code 6W
Series Season 22
Length 3 episodes, 45 minutes each
Date started 16 February 1985
Date ended 2 March 1985
← Preceded by Followed by →
The Mark of the Rani Timelash

The Two Doctors is the fourth serial of the 22nd season in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in three weekly parts from 16 February to 2 March 1985. It starred Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant as the Sixth Doctor and his companion Peri, respectively. It also featured return appearances by Patrick Troughton and Frazer Hines in their roles as the Second Doctor and Jamie McCrimmon.


The Second Doctor and Jamie McCrimmon land the TARDIS on board Space Station Chimera in the Third Zone on a mission for the Time Lords, who have also installed a teleport control on the TARDIS. The Doctor explains that the station is a research facility and that they have to talk to Dastari, the Head of Projects. The TARDIS materialises in the station kitchen, where they meet Shockeye, the station cook. Shockeye is an Androgum, a member of a primitive, emotionally and ethically bestial humanoid race, which acts as the station's workforce. As they leave they hear the TARDIS dematerialise. This is observed by Chessene, an Androgum technologically augmented to mega-genius levels. Chessene has plans of her own, involving someone named Stike who will be arriving in force soon, once Shockeye's poisoned meal to the scientists takes effect. She has also taken possession of the Kartz-Reimer module.

The Doctor tells Dastari that the Time Lords want the time experiments of Kartz and Reimer stopped. The Time Lords have an official policy of neutrality, so have sent the exiled Doctor to maintain deniability. Dastari introduces Chessene, but the Doctor is sceptical as to whether such augmentation can change Chessene's essential Androgum nature, and considers such tampering dangerous. Meanwhile, three Sontaran battlecruisers appear near the station. Before the station's defences can be activated, Chessene incapacitates the technician on post and opens the docking bays. Back in the office, the Doctor warns that the distortions from the Kartz-Reimer experiments are on the verge of threatening the fabric of time, but Dastari refuses to order them to cease, accusing the Time Lords of not wanting another race to discover the secrets of time travel. As the argument grows more heated, Dastari grows faint and falls into a drugged stupor. Energy weapons fire begins to sound in the corridors and the Doctor orders Jamie to run as a Sontaran levels a gun at the Doctor.

Somewhere else, the Sixth Doctor and Peri Brown are on a peaceful fishing trip. When they return to the TARDIS, Peri is startled as the Sixth Doctor is suddenly weak and collapses — just as, back on the station, Jamie spies the Second Doctor in a glass chamber, writhing in agony as a Sontaran manipulates controls. In his TARDIS, the Sixth Doctor regains his strength and has a vision of his second incarnation being put to death. Since he is still alive, he is concerned that he may have died in the past and only exists now as a temporal anomaly. He decides to consult his old friend Dastari to see if he can help.

The TARDIS materialises on the station, but the smell of decay and death is everywhere. The station computer demands that the Doctor leave and, when he refuses, tries to kill him and Peri by depressurising the passageway. The Doctor manages to open a hatch and drag his unconscious companion through to another section. The Doctor discovers Dastari's day journal and the Time Lords' objections to the Kartz-Reimer experiments, but refuses to believe his people are responsible for the massacre. Peri suggests someone is trying to frame the Time Lords and drive a wedge between them and the Third Zone governments. They leave the office to enter the service ducts, work their way to the control centre and attempt to deactivate the computer before it succeeds in killing them.

On Earth, Chessene, Shockeye and a Sontaran, Major Varl, take possession of a Spanish hacienda by killing its aged owner, Doña Arana. Varl sets up a homing beacon for the Sontaran ship, while Chessene absorbs the knowledge of the old woman's mind, discovering that they are in Andalucia, just outside the city of Seville. Varl announces that Group Marshal Stike of the Ninth Sontaran Battle Fleet is in descent orbit. Meanwhile, two people, Oscar Botcherby and Anita, are approaching the grounds. Oscar, an ex-English stage actor who manages a restaurant in the city, intends to catch moths, armed with a net and a cyanide-killing jar in his backpack. He and Anita see the Sontaran ship zoom overhead, and observe through binoculars Dastari and another Sontaran carrying an unconscious Second Doctor towards the hacienda.

Down in the bowels of the station, the Sixth Doctor tries to disconnect the main circuit. Suddenly, Peri is attacked by a humanoid in rags, and when her cries distract the Doctor, he is hit by a gas trap and falls unconscious, becoming entangled in the wires.

Peri knocks out her attacker and frees the Sixth Doctor, who saved himself by shutting off his respiratory passages. He disconnects the computer's main circuit, and the two find that Peri's attacker was a half-delirious Jamie, who has been hiding all the while. Jamie moans that "they" killed the Doctor, and under hypnosis, tells the Sixth Doctor what has transpired, giving a description that the Doctor recognizes as the Sontarans. Returning to the office to examine the station records, the Doctor suddenly sees Peri in the glass tube, writhing in pain. As he frantically works the controls to free her, the person in the tube changes from Peri to Dastari to the Second Doctor and to himself. The Sixth Doctor explains to Jamie and Peri that what Jamie saw was an illusion designed to make people believe the Doctor was dead and not investigate further (the animator had been left on and captured Peri's image), which means the Second Doctor is being held captive somewhere. He theorises that the Sontarans also kidnapped Dastari as he is the only biogeneticist in the galaxy who could isolate the symbiotic nuclei that gives Time Lords the molecular stability to travel through time. If given time travel, the Sontarans will become unstoppable. The Sixth Doctor puts himself into a telepathic trance to determine where his past incarnation is being held. He awakens having heard the sound of the Santa Maria, the largest of the 25 bells at the Great Cathedral of Seville.

In the cellar of the hacienda, Dastari and Chessene set up equipment, keeping the Second Doctor drugged and passive. Chessene explains to Dastari that they have come to Earth as it is conveniently situated for an attack Stike wishes to make on the Madillon Cluster against the Rutan Host, and that Shockeye wants to taste the flesh of humans. Dastari heaps scorn on Shockeye's primitive urges, and urges Chessene to remember that she is beyond those. The TARDIS materialises on the grounds near the hacienda, and Oscar approaches it as the TARDIS crew emerge, thinking it is a real police box and that the Doctor and his companions are plain-clothes police officers. Taking advantage of the mistake, the Doctor asks that Oscar lead him to the hacienda.

Dastari reveals his plan to dissect the Second Doctor's cell structure to isolate his symbiotic nuclei and give them to Chessene. The Second Doctor protests that her barbaric Androgum nature, coupled with the ability to time travel, will mean that there will be no limit to her evil. The Sixth Doctor asks Peri to create a distraction outside the hacienda while he and Jamie go to the cellar via a passage in the nearby icehouse. Peri calls out, interrupting Dastari's operation. She poses as a lost American student, but Chessene is suspicious, having read thoughts of the Doctor in her mind. Chessene gets Shockeye to bring the Second Doctor, strapped into a wheelchair, through the hall, to see if Peri reacts. She does not, as she has never seen the Second Doctor before. Peri leaves but Shockeye chases her, eager for a meal.

Meanwhile, the Sixth Doctor and Jamie are in the cellar, where the Doctor examines the Kartz-Reimer module, a prototype time machine modelled on Time Lord technology. He explains to Jamie that once the briode nebuliser of the module is primed with his symbiotic nuclei — the Rassilon Imprimatur — it will be safe for anyone to use. Unfortunately, the Sontarans have heard him. Outside, Shockeye catches Peri. She falls, and Shockeye leans over her body.

Shockeye knocks Peri out and brings her back to the hacienda kitchen. In the cellar, Stike threatens to kill Jamie unless the Sixth Doctor gets into the module and primes it with his symbiotic print, and the Doctor does so. Stike is about to execute Jamie anyway, but Jamie stabs Stike's leg with a concealed knife, and the Doctor and he run off upstairs, where they find the Second Doctor. Before they can release the Second Doctor and escape the hacienda, however, Shockeye shows up with the unconscious Peri. The Second Doctor feigns unconsciousness while the others hide.

While the Sixth Doctor and Jamie watch from their hiding place, they hear Chessene voice her concern that now that a second Time Lord is involved, the other Time Lords will be arriving as well. However, she has a contingency plan. She asks Dastari to implant the Second Doctor with some of Shockeye's genetic material, turning the Doctor into an Androgum. They also intend to eliminate the Sontarans. However, Dastari and Chessene are unaware that the module is now primed, and that Stike is preparing to leave in it. Stike orders Varl to set the Sontaran battlecraft's self-destruct mechanism to kill all the witnesses.

Chessene interrupts Shockeye as he is about to slaughter Peri and makes him bring the Second Doctor to the cellar. She stuns Shockeye so that Dastari can remove his genetic material. The Sixth Doctor revives Peri, and tells Jamie and her that what he revealed about the Imprimatur in the cellar was not true — he had lied because he had heard Stike approaching. The machine worked for the Doctor, but will not for them because the Doctor has taken the briode nebuliser.

Dastari has implanted the Second Doctor with a 50 percent Androgum inheritance, and when Shockeye wakes in a rage, he finds a kindred spirit in the transformed Doctor. They decide to go into the town to sample the local cuisine. Dastari lures the Sontarans into the cellar, where Chessene attacks them with two canisters of coronic acid. Varl is killed, but Stike, though wounded, manages to escape. He tries to use the module, but without the nebuliser, it severely burns him. Stike staggers towards his battlecraft, forgetting about the self-destruct. The ship explodes and kills him.

The Sixth Doctor, Peri and Jamie follow the Second Doctor into Seville, hoping to cure him before the change becomes complete. Dastari and Chessene are also looking for them, knowing that unless the Second Doctor undergoes a stabilising operation, he will eventually reject the Androgum transfusion. The Second Doctor and Shockeye go to Oscar's restaurant, ordering gargantuan amounts of food. When Oscar demands that they pay, Shockeye fatally stabs Oscar, just as the Sixth Doctor and the others arrive. Shockeye leaves the Second Doctor, who slowly reverts to normal. As they leave the restaurant, Chessene and Dastari appear, taking them back to the hacienda at gunpoint.

Chessene and Dastari find the nebuliser on the module missing, and the Sixth Doctor tells them how he primed the machine for Stike. To test the truth of the Doctor's claim, they replace the nebuliser and send Peri on a trip with the module, and she survives. Chessene gives permission for Shockeye to eat Jamie, and the Androgum takes him to the kitchen. The Sixth Doctor confirms the Second's suspicions — the nebuliser is sabotaged, with a thin interface layer so it would work once for Peri. Flipping the table over on which the key to their chains rests, the Doctors retrieve the key. The Sixth Doctor frees himself first, and goes to save Jamie. He encounters Shockeye in the kitchen, and the Androgum wounds him with a knife. Shockeye pursues him through the grounds, but the Sixth Doctor finds Oscar's pack and his cyanide-killing jar. The Doctor ambushes Shockeye, covering his head with Oscar's butterfly net and pressing the cyanide-soaked cotton wool to his face, killing him.

Chessene sees the Doctor's blood and starts licking it. Dastari realises that no matter how augmented she may be, Chessene is still an Androgum, and decides to free the Second Doctor and his companions. When Chessene sees this, she shoots and kills Dastari. She tries to shoot the Second Doctor and Peri, but Jamie throws a knife at her wrist, making her drop the gun. Chessene goes into the module, hoping to escape, but the module explodes, molecularly disintegrating her and turning her back into a common Androgum in death.

The Second Doctor uses a Stattenheim remote control to summon his TARDIS. He and Jamie say their goodbyes and leave. As the Sixth Doctor and Peri make their way back to their own TARDIS, the Doctor tells her that from now on, it will be a healthy vegetarian diet for both of them.


Victoria Waterfield is mentioned as having been dropped off prior to the start of the serial. In The Time Warrior, the first appearance of the Sontarans in the series, the Third Doctor refers to a familiarity with the race, which would fit in with his second incarnation's encounter with them in this story. This is the last Sontaran appearance until "The Sontaran Stratagem" in the revived series. Despite being a clone race, the two Sontarans who appear in The Two Doctors are both over 6 feet tall and are therefore significantly taller than their brethren in previous and subsequent stories where the race is depicted as being shorter than the average human male. Additionally, one of the Sontarans in this story is significantly taller than the other.

Although there is dispute over whether the Doctor actually kills anyone in Vengeance on Varos, he is shown killing Shockeye with cyanide in self-defence in this serial, adding to ongoing media criticism over the level of violence in the Sixth Doctor's era; this is the first time the Doctor is shown directly and intentionally killing a humanoid character (Cybermen notwithstanding) since The Ribos Operation (1978), in which he deliberately switches an explosive, letting the villain blow himself up instead.

At the end of the story, the Doctor decides that he and Peri should turn vegetarian. Save for sampling Marsh Minnows offered by Sil in Mindwarp, he does not consume animal tissue before the suspension of the series in 1989. The Ninth Doctor does, however, order steak and chips in the new series episode "Boom Town" (although he is not seen to eat it on screen), The Tenth Doctor samples a buffalo wing in "Voyage of the Damned" with no apparent reservations, and The Eleventh Doctor samples bacon and fish fingers in "The Eleventh Hour". In "Amy's Choice", the Dream Lord suggests that the Doctor is "probably a vegetarian". In the novel The City of the Dead, the Eighth Doctor offhandedly mentions giving up on vegetarianism (like all spin-off Doctor Who novels, this isn't necessarily canon.)[citation needed]

This is one of several multi-Doctor stories and was the third during the original series' run, following the 10th anniversary story The Three Doctors (1973) and the 20th anniversary story The Five Doctors (1983). Excluding the charity special Dimensions In Time, no new multi-Doctor story would occur again on screen until the 2007 "mini-episode" of the new series, "Time Crash", which was also a charity special, albeit with a higher budget. The next multi-Doctor story was "The Day of the Doctor", the 50th anniversary special which was broadcast on 23 November 2013. The opening scene of the serial begins in monochrome, reflecting the Second Doctor's era, before dissolving into colour, and makes use of the old-style TARDIS console last seen in The King's Demons, albeit with the addition of a new teleport control by which the Second Doctor tells Jamie the Time Lords can maintain control of the TARDIS.

The Two Doctors was released as six 25-minute episodes in the USA. "Part One" ends with the Doctor and Peri wandering around the space station where the Doctor says "the research here didn't threaten anyone", to which the computer replies "it threatened the Time Lords". "Part Three" ends with Anita offering to show the Doctor and Peri to the hacienda and "Part Five" ends with the Doctor taking a drink from a fountain in Seville as he begins to feel the effects of becoming an Androgum. UK Gold screenings of the story as well as the Australian video release have used the six part version.[citation needed]


Working titles for this story included The Kraglon Inheritance and The Androgum Inheritance.[2] Robert Holmes, a vegetarian, wrote the serial as an allegory about meat-eating, hunting and butchering. "Androgum" is an anagram of "gourmand".[3] Elements from Robert Holmes's aborted project The Six Doctors were carried over to this story (as the production subtitles for the DVD release reveal).

Holmes's original brief from producer John Nathan-Turner was to write a serial taking place in New Orleans, involving the Sontarans, the Second Doctor and Jamie, but the setting had to be changed to Spain instead when the expected funding for location filming in the United States fell through. Early plans to have Richard Hurndall and Carole Ann Ford reprise their roles as the First Doctor and his granddaughter Susan (as portrayed in The Five Doctors) were abandoned when Hurndall died.[4] Holmes was particularly disappointed that much of the humour involving the differences between Britain and America was lost in the rewrite. The only hint we get of this humour is in Episode 1, when the Sixth Doctor looks at Peri and says that Columbus "has a lot to answer for".[2]

According to the DVD commentary track, location filming was plagued by numerous small problems, including high heat that caused make-up to melt, a three-day delay to replace Troughton and Pearce's wigs (which had somehow got lost in shipping), Carmen Gómez' refusal to wear a costume designed for her, and a local stunt man (the truck driver) who refused to perform his stunt as it had been choreographed. Pearce also says that she was a last-minute replacement for another, unspecified actress who had to drop out of the production. A filmed scene with Oscar and Anita in the olive grove was discovered to have been ruined by a scratch on the negative, so Saxon and Gómez, who had already returned to England, had to be quickly brought back to Spain at considerable expense. This was the latest of a number of stories which included location filming outside the United Kingdom, starting with City of Death. Discounting the 1996 TV movie which was produced entirely in Canada, and the 2007 episode "Daleks in Manhattan" which included some second unit footage shot in New York City, another regular series episode would not be substantially filmed outside the UK until "The Fires of Pompeii" which was broadcast in 2008.[citation needed]

During the transmission of the story, the news that the series would be put on hiatus for a year was announced.[citation needed] Much controversy still surrounds this period and action, with disputes over whether or not the series was facing cancellation outright at this stage, and the roles of various BBC officials such as BBC One controller Michael Grade and Head of Drama Serials Jonathan Powell.[citation needed]

Cast notes[edit]

This story marked the final appearance of Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor and the final on-screen appearance of Frazer Hines as Jamie.

Broadcast and Reception[edit]

Serial details by episode
Episode Broadcast date Run time Viewers
(in millions)
"Part One" 16 February 1985 (1985-02-16) 44:22 6.6
"Part Two" 23 February 1985 (1985-02-23) 44:49 6.0
"Part Three" 2 March 1985 (1985-03-02) 44:45 6.9

The Two Doctors was one of several stories from this era to provoke controversy over its depiction of violence. In 1985, Australasian Doctor Who Fan Club president Tony Howe criticised the murder of Oscar with a kitchen knife as being an instance of "sick, shock violence" that was present for "cheap shock value only".[8]

Patrick Mulkern of Radio Times was unimpressed by the serial, stating: "The Two Doctors wasn’t dire, but the actors and audience deserved better."[9]

Commercial releases[edit]

In print[edit]

The Two Doctors
Doctor Who The Two Doctors.jpg
Author Robert Holmes
Cover artist Andrew Skilleter
Series Doctor Who book:
Target novelisations
Release number
Publisher Target Books
Publication date
5 December 1985
ISBN 0-426-20201-5

The novelisation of this serial, by Robert Holmes, was published in hardback and paperback in August 1985 as the 100th Doctor Who release by Target Books. This was Holmes's only complete novelisation and seeks to clear up some of the continuity errors in the original broadcast. With a gold foil-embossed cover, it was billed on release as the 100th novelisation and featured an introduction by John Nathan-Turner.

Home media[edit]

The Two Doctors was released on VHS in November 1993. It was released on DVD in the UK in September 2003 in a two-disc set as part of the Doctor Who 40th Anniversary Celebration releases, representing the Colin Baker years, with many extra features, including the Jim'll Fix It sketch A Fix with Sontarans. The DVD contains a full-length commentary provided by director Peter Moffatt and actors Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Frazer Hines, and Jacqueline Pearce. The DVD was subsequently incorporated into the box set Bred for War, along with The Time Warrior, The Sontaran Experiment and The Invasion of Time. Following the sexual abuse accusations regarding Jimmy Savile, the DVD was withdrawn from sale but has since been rereleased with the sketch removed.[10] The BBC has made the serial available for download on Apple iTunes. It was released in issue 45 of Doctor Who DVD Files.


  1. ^ From the Doctor Who Magazine series overview, in issue 407 (pp26-29). The Discontinuity Guide, which counts the unbroadcast serial Shada, lists this as story number 141. Region 1 DVD releases follow The Discontinuity Guide numbering system.
  2. ^ a b The Two Doctors at Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time (Travel)
  3. ^ Howe, David J.; Stammers, Mark; Walker, Stephen James (1993). Doctor Who The Handbook - The Sixth Doctor. London: Doctor Who Books. p. 99. ISBN 0-426-20400-X. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Shaun Lyon; et al. (2007-03-31). "The Two Doctors". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 2008-04-10. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  6. ^ "The Two Doctors". Doctor Who Reference Guide. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  7. ^ Sullivan, Shannon (2007-08-07). "The Two Doctors". A Brief History of Time Travel. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  8. ^ Tulloch, John; Jenkins, Henry (1995). Science Fiction Audiences : Watching Doctor Who and Star Trek. London: Routledge. p. 160. ISBN 0415061407. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ The Two Doctors: revised release clatrification

External links[edit]


Target novelisation[edit]